Frank Bongiorno is Professor Emeritus of Saxophone and Jazz Studies at the University of North Carolina Wilmington where he taught since 1982 before retiring in June of 2022. During his time at UNCW, his saxophone as well as jazz students received national and international recognition by such organizations as Down Beat and Jazzfest USA, among others, and he was recognized for his contributions to teaching at UNCW receiving the 2006 J. Marshall Crews Distinguished Faculty Award, the UNCW 2010 Distinguished Teaching Professorship Award, and the 2011 North Carolina Board of Governors Award for Excellence in Teaching. In addition, he was director of the UNCW Summer Jazz Workshop, one of the premiere summer jazz workshops in North Carolina from 1996 to 2020.
Bongiorno performed throughout the world, including Berlin, Boston, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, Chicago, Montreal, New York, Tokyo, Nuremberg, Montreux (Switzerland), Graz and Salzburg (Austria),
Valencia (Spain), Montréal, Pesaro (Italy), and Ljubljana (Slovenia), among others, as well as received invitations to present at ten World Saxophone Congresses from 1982 to 2012. He performed as a soloist with various professional and college ensembles such as the Orchestra Filarmonica Marchigiana (Italy), Shreveport Symphony, Wilmington Symphony Orchestra, Auburn University Wind Ensemble, Williams College Jazz Ensemble, and Northern State College Jazz Ensemble, as well as a member of the renowned Ryoanji Duo (saxophone & classical guitar). Other performing credits included performances as a supporting musician for the Four Tops, Carol Channing, Red Skelton, the North Carolina Symphony, Kenny Rogers, Frankie Vallie, Johnny Mathis, Steve Lawrence, and Edie Gorme, as well as for the movie soundtrack of Chasers.
Bongiorno's solo compact disc recordings include the critically acclaimed Classic Saxophone, Classic Saxophone, Vol. 2: Musica da camera, and Images, as a member of the Ryoanji Duo. The duo also recorded David Kechley’s Sea of Stones, a concerto for saxophone, guitar, and orchestra, with the Filharmonia Sudecka in Walbrzych, Poland. He recorded a jazz play along CD of original jazz compositions as well as a master class CD on learning to improvise using transcriptions for Jazz Player Magazine, a saxophone vibrato master class CD, and two sets of play-along duets for saxophone published in the Saxophone Journal.
His publications include classical saxophone transcriptions (Oboe Quartet in F Major, K. 370 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5: Cantilena by Heitor Villa-Lobos), original compositions for jazz combo, paper presentations at the Eighteenth Annual International Association for Jazz Educators Conference and the Second Annual Boston Saxophone Workshop & Contemporary Woodwind Seminar, a DVD on Basic Reed Maintenance for the Saxophonist, as well as over 200 articles and reviews in such publications as the Saxophone Symposium, Saxophone Journal, Saxophone Today, North Carolina Music Educators Journal, the National Association of College Wind & Percussion Instructors, Teaching Music Through Jazz Performance, Vol. 2, and Popular Musicians. His book, “Basic Concepts and Strategies for the Developing Saxophonist” was released in the Spring of 2022, and he has several saxophone master classes on his YouTube channel.
He has served as Membership Director, Treasurer and Coordinating Reviews Editor for the North American Saxophone Alliance and has been featured in a front cover interview of the January/February 1993 issue of the Saxophone Journal, as well as listed in the International Who’s Who in Music, Seventeenth Edition, and the Outstanding Musicians of the 20th Century.
Doctor of Music in Saxophone Performance with minors in Jazz Studies and Music Education
Indiana University, Bloomington (1990)
The Construction and Validation of an Objective Evaluation for Jazz Ensemble Saxophone Auditions
Master of Music in Saxophone Performance with a minor in Jazz Studies
University of North Texas, Denton (1982)
Bachelor of Music in Saxophone Performance & Music Education
Ithaca College, NY (1980)
Steve Mauk - Ithaca College
James Riggs - University of North Texas
Eugene Rousseau - Indiana University
Daniel Deffayet - Indiana University
David Baker - Indiana University
Rich Matteson - University of North Texas
Charles Schmidt - Indiana University
Siciliano – J.S. Bach • Syrinx – Calude Debussy • Fast Music – David Kechley • Brillance – Ida Gotkovsky • Elegy for a Hollow Man – Malcolm Lewis • Concerto in C Minor – Allessandro Marcello • Ballade – Frank Martin • Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5 – Heitor Villa-Lobos
“Saxophonist Frank Bongiorno is a performer to be listened to closely on this CD. His saxophone skills and natural talent will attract your ear. Classic Saxophone is only the beginning for this dynamic saxophonist.”
Paul Wagner & Joe Viola
Saxophone Journal, September/October 1989
In the Dragon's Garden – David Kechley • Sonata I – Georg Telemann • Oboe Quartet in F Major (K. 370) – W.A. Mozart • Saxsounds III – Steven Galante • Sicilienne – Gabriel Fauré • Faces of the Blues – David Baker
“Classic Saxophone, Vol. 2 is indeed a classic. This CD should go on your "must get or at least listen to" list. Bongiorno is an excellent saxophonist who has the magic to tell stories through his saxophone performance. Not only does he tickle the listener's ear, but he fires up the imagination and stirs the soul.”
Paul Wagner & Joe Viola
Saxophone Journal, January/February 1995
Driveline: A Powerwalk for Guitar and Alto Saxophone - David Kechley • Face of the Moon - Marilyn Shrude • Rock Garden - Daniel Worley • Introducción, Danza y Contemplativo - Ernesto García de León• Barcarolle - Michael Ruszcynski • In the Dragon’s Garden - David Kechley • Images of China - Jing-Jing Luo-Haven
“Frank Bongiorno captures the listener's imagination by letting his melodic lines live freely and unfettered by mechanical limitations. The listener is totally engulfed in the drama of the music. His articulation is light and extremely precise. Another mark of the artistry of this duo is that everything on the recording sounds deceptively easy to perform.
Saxophone Journal, January/February 2004
Sea of Stones: Music by David Kechley for Guitar and Saxophone • Innova 940
Points of Departure • Bounce • Sea of Sones
“Sea of Stones is a wonderful work with fantastic musical ideas, emotional power, brilliant orchestration, and exemplary performances from all involved.”
Soundboard, June 2016
Winter Branches • Music for Saxophones (Frank Bongiorno and the Empire Saxophone Quartet) • Sonata for Viola and Piano • Voices from the Garden
Originally released as part of a CD of music by composer David Kechley, Music for Saxophones (saxophone solo with saxophone quartet) was written for Frank Bongiorno and premiered at the 1985 World Saxophone Congress in Washington, D.C. The three movements from this important saxophone work (Funky Music, Funeral Music, Fast Music) are no longer commercially available but may be downloaded above.
Shorty • Summation • Purple’s Passion • Mama’s Boy • Gone • Baker’s Dozen
Jazz combo compositions written by Frank Bongiorno. No longer commercially available except the two downloads listed above.
Basic Concepts and Strategies for the Developing Saxophonist
Intended for the upper-level high school student as well as undergraduate student, Basic Concepts and Strategies for the Developing Saxophonist provides fundamental topics as well as exercises with suggested approaches to help the saxophone student and performer better understand the "workings" of the saxophone. This book contains twenty-two topics with musical examples demonstrating concepts and strategies, as well as a final chapter of technical exercises.
"This new book belongs in every college music library and in the personal library of all serious saxophonists. It will be especially beneficial to those who teach the saxophone. I applaud Dr. Bongiorno's work in bringing these important concepts to his readers."
Dr. Steven Mauk, Retired Professor of Saxophone, Ithaca College
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